Neato XV DIY nimh(5600mah)BatPacks $42 100min run

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Neato XV DIY nimh(5600mah)BatPacks $42 100min run

Postby gustavo » August 10th, 2014, 11:28 pm

I'm charging it now for the second run, if anyone interested I'll keep you posted, 3 hours work and patience, a very little mod.
Batteries very cool after the 100 min run so they should last for 1000+ cycles.

Video 100 minutes run
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Eqk1Fafwc
Last edited by gustavo on August 14th, 2014, 9:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Neato XV homemade packs $40 nimh first run 73:43 (5600ma

Postby glnc222 » August 11th, 2014, 1:12 am

Excellent obtaining lower cost NiMh batteries for Neato.

However, I doubt they will last any longer than the commercially supplied Neato batteries. From what I read, the lifetime is inherent in the NiMh chemistry, rated for 2-300 charging cycles, consistent with experience with Roomba and Neato batteries over several replacements. [edit] That Sanyo eneloop brand has similar long life specs may mean there is indeed a new 3rd generation of improved NiMh cells, just oddly available only in AA size at the moment. See later post below.

I am not sure why lithium ion batteries, such as used in Vorwerk's Neato model, are any different, given how those cells are not specified for anything more than NiMh. Perhaps they are more robust under the rapid charging used in Neato, I do not know. The only chemistry which is rated for inherently longer life is LiFePo4, Lithium Iron Phosphate (including A123 nanophosphate brand), at a cost in reduced cell capacity. Compatibility with Neato's system is still under investigation (other thread http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16982), and custom adapter electronics has to be hand made, with no commercial supply.

As far as the heating goes, note that heating up is the basic method NiMh cells use to control the charger, which recognizes full cells from the fact they heat up when approaching full charge -- and continue to heat after charging stops. Supposedly that process does not degrade the cells and is standard for the technology, but full data is hard to find. Maybe when very slow charged they last longer, don't know, and irrelevant to Neato anyway.

Because of inherent heating, the NiMh packs I've had all contain a thermal fuse besides the temperature sensing thermistor to control the charger, I suppose in case of malfunctions. (Heating from discharge is handled by the current limiting fuse.) Such parts can be salvaged from worn out commercial Neato packs. They are not expensive at distributors, but the exact parts are hard to find in small quantities.
Last edited by glnc222 on August 12th, 2014, 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato XV homemade packs $40 nimh first run 73:43 (5600ma

Postby gustavo » August 11th, 2014, 10:37 am

Hey! thanks for your reply, I made the packs using 2 parallels series of the following cells
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DNP ... UTF8&psc=1
They fitted nicely taking off the aluminum shield off of the battery compartment, since the load is going to be balanced between each parallel of all the series, that is what makes me think they are going to last a fair amount of recharges.

www.dropbox.com/s/9kqhtnclgm6bs09/bat%20pack.JPG

How do I upload a pic to this forum?, I'm so bad at forums....
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Re: Neato XV homemade packs $40 nimh first run 73:43 (5600ma

Postby glnc222 » August 11th, 2014, 1:48 pm

How do I upload a pic to this forum?

At the bottom of the "post reply" screen, an "upload attachment" tab; browse PC to select file etc.
The uploads will become listed below with an option to "place inline" where the cursor is in the post text. Otherwise they will display below the text. A box is also shown to put a description under the image, but this is only part of the post, not the image. Right click the image shows a Windows option to "copy image address" (among several different addresses), and the editing option in the bar at top of text entry has an "img" option which can show the photo in other posts without re-uploading (inserting img brackets around the link). See the forum FAQ for more info. In the personal "user control panel" there may be a section on all your uploaded attachments.
Use post Preview to see how pics display in case some photo editing for contrast etc. may be wanted. Dark pics need to be lightened some for best appearance over the net.
As it takes time for a viewing person to download info I prefer to lower the resolution of large pics to the minimum required by converting pics to 1024x768 in IrfanView unless a specially complex diagram or something, so there is no delay to someone browsing etc. a page with lots of pics on one screen -- just a guess, not an expert.
[edit] dropbox stored pics can be displayed just by putting the dropbox image address in the "img" brackets, without uploading to the forum (with public access permissions set in the dropbox storage, of course).
Last edited by glnc222 on August 11th, 2014, 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 11th, 2014, 1:58 pm

Thanks for the info.

Update!!!
After overnight charging of the packs it gave me 103 minutes run, for $40 that is great, I encourage people to try it, I think I'll have some good cycles from these packs, I'll keep everyone interested posted, I'll let them charge again and run another never ending cycle.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 11th, 2014, 3:32 pm

Unusual AA size used

These packs are made of an unusual smaller AA size cell while the Neato compartment is made for six 18650 size cells (18mm wide by 65mm long), which come in 3200mah up -- capacity has increased over years.
Apparently the aluminum heat sink side of the older compartments had to be removed for a bulkier 12 AA's in each side.
[edit] whether this fits in newer compartments without the aluminum to remove would need to be checked.
They do have a tiny bit more room, but just how this pack was squeezed in is not clear. Get the AA dimensions and figure the geometry.

The EBL brand used does advertise on Amazon 1200 cycles. There is a lot of over-labeling hype in batteries, but the technology does keep advancing. EBL shows an 18650 size only 2600mah capacity, which might still work given Neato's programmed run of about 2ah. Maybe the lower capacity reflects some trade-off with longer life -- no info.
EBL is an abbreviation for "Extended Battery Life" and there is an "EBL Working Group" joint venture of major computer makers to improve batteries for portable devices. I could not find a company website for EBL cells -- just an Amazon vendor. It is not unusual for a company to use the substantial Amazon facilities as their distribution arm. Anyway someone is wrapping these cells in EBL label packaging.

It would be interesting to see how this AA pack is constructed and the batteries connected. Was a tab welder used?
Wiring two dozen cells impressive.

Image

(You can put the dropbox address in the "img" brackets to display without uploading. Better to upload to the forum so the post storage is self-contained and display not affected by changes to dropbox content.)
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 11th, 2014, 4:20 pm

I just used cooper wire to solder the cells they are really nice, as allways I rushed to make them but they look pretty good, I put everything that was in the original packs te 2 thermistors and the fuse, I'll take a picture and upload it.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 11th, 2014, 4:40 pm

I know it might be overlabeling about the cycles, but anyhow for 3hs work $40 it gives 103mins :) I'm happy, I might get at least 500cycles? I don't know, would see, I just posted for it might be helpfull for someone else that want to try it :)
Pictures, now that I'm an expert at uploading :D
Attachments
IMG_1870.JPG
IMG_1867.JPG
IMG_1855.JPG
IMG_1851.JPG
IMG_1850.JPG
IMG_1849.JPG
IMG_1848.JPG
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 11th, 2014, 7:09 pm

[edit] Also fits in the newer all-plastic XV models and the BotVac, in later post pics

product description
An ebay description of the cells -- still no mfg website:
EBL® is a certified brand manufacture that produce EBL® series general use battery ... All products and packages are marked with EBL® which can only enjoy the rights by seller and manufacture '30 days money back and 1 year limited warranty '.The EBL® series products have been certified by CE and ROHS,also can provide customized product Certificate

About product:
EBL® AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries are great for use in your household devices,...They come pre-charged and can be used immediately out of the package. EBL® batteries can be recharged up to 1200 times when fully or partially drained which makes it extremely economical, and provides an expected life similar to that of the device in which it is used. Besides, improved low self discharge makes it still maintain 75% of capacity after 3 year of non-use.

Battery :Pack of 16 AA 2800mAh Ni-MH rechargeable batteries
EBL® batteries can be recharged up to 1200 times when fully or partially drained
Improved low self discharge makes it still maintain 75% of capacity after 3 year of non-use


Interesting the claims are not limited to listing a cycle number; they are elaborated and repeated, and also extended into specifics such as shelf life. Who and how remains mysterious here at least.

[edit] Another brand AA on ebay is advertised as 3000mah and 1000 cycles:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/12x-AA-2A-3000mAh-1-2-V-Ni-MH-BTY-Rechargeable-Battery-Cell-AA-AAA-USB-Charger/121324890407?_trksid=p2045573.c100034.m2102&_trkparms=aid%3D555012%26algo%3DPW.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131003150253%26meid%3D8968255816893782723%26pid%3D100034%26prg%3D20131003150253%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D251592832487

Besides capacity the maximum continuous charging current spec is required, which might be low on this size despite a single 12 series having sufficient capacity.

Lots of claims, little background. Over-stated capacities from China are common.
That an 18650 would have lower capacity than AA is peculiar.
Last edited by glnc222 on August 27th, 2014, 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 11th, 2014, 11:27 pm

yea, you can go for these, they are more trusted maybe, but I read the reviews and went for ebl and cant complain
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IRK0B2W/ref ... VDDB8IMJNN
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 12th, 2014, 3:20 am

Sanyo Eneloop Similar

Trying to determine if there is a new NiMh technology (newer than the 2000-2005 significant improvements preceding Neato, mainly in capacity), I checked Sanyo Eneloop brand, respected quality Japanese electronics, frequently mentioned in battery forums.
[edit] Wikipedia notes Sanyo discontinued line in 2013 and it was taken up by Panasonic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eneloop
One seller notes "3rd generation" eneloop. An amazon listing specifies similar EBL properties and 1800 cycles even more than EBL, and similar other property improvements over Neato's 18650's.
2000mAh typ, 1900mAh min, Ni-MH pre-charged rechargeable battery
Recharge up to 1800 times
Maintain up to 70% of their charge after 5 years (when not it use)
Work in extreme temperatures down to -4°F
No memory effect - batteries can be recharged when fully, or partially drained
2000mAh typ, 1900mAh min, Ni-MH pre-charged rechargeable battery
Maintain up to 70% of their charge after 5 years (when not it use)

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Pre-Charged-Rechargeable-Batteries-discontinued-manufacturer/dp/B004UG41XW
--- enough capacity in parallel pairs for Neato whose original battery was 3200mah (those cells are mostly listed as 3800 now at distributors). It is possible EBL's 2800 spec is typical over-statement of an actual 2000 -- no matter.
Yet the eneloop 18650's still show the same lower capacity as EBL, like a different generation.

Point is not that eneloops are better, but that there does appear to have been some advances.
Looking only at 18650's for the capacity or to fit the space may have left something overlooked. One assumes advances are applied across the whole size range.

If the pack presses tightly against the plastic sides replacing the aluminum in Neato compartments, I am not sure they would fit in newer all plastic Neato's. [good fit shown later posts]
Someone would have to measure the compartment width exactly, I don't have that model. The aluminum protrudes inside the plastic position of the old Neato's, and the outside cover is adding the thickness of the plastic walls to the space used. It is a very close call. It also depends on how much of the depth is used, as packing can be arranged to be thinner but higher, with more tedious assembly.

Did you glue the cells together or just wrap them? What sort of plastic replaced the aluminum?

Unfortunately, it appears that Botvac's use of shorter Sub-C size cells does not leave room for AA size replacements which are longer.
Last edited by glnc222 on August 19th, 2014, 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 12th, 2014, 12:33 pm

Yes, I been using Eneloops for a couple of years now, thats where my idea came to look for a battery with the same tech but cheaper. About the mah I can asure you they are much closer to 2800mah than 2000, don't forget that it runs for 100+ minutes in my neato. And there is more than 1 review like this off these batteries(EBL)

(Amazon review)
- Right out of the box, those AA cells showed an average remaining charge of 1728mAh, or 62% of the rated '2800mAh' capacity.
- After just one Charge/Discharge cycle, the average capacity jumped to 2650mAh.
- After another three more cycles, the average capacity stabilized at 2720mAh, or 97% of the rated capacity. The spread in capacity is quite small, from 2660 to 2790mAh.


We know that what really kills a battery is the dicharge rate(the charging rate in the neato is lower than the discharche rate) so being 2 in parallel divides the Amp hour on both, and that is really going to improve life of the batteries, would see, but I can imagine with the eneloop tech this batts can give me more than 1000 cycles.

Ok about the assemble, is 5 minutes work
you take out the weel and the aluminum.
you eat a full box of cabsha that comes in a plastic box and cut a piece of it a little bigger than the size
of the hole , glue it with some instant glue(loctite)
http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA ... neria--_JM
if you can't get cabsha in your country you may try any kind of plastic at your own risk.
ok now you use a thin plastic film to wrap the walls just in case some glue is going out of the batteries(it didn't happen to me), you put it in a u shape with the ends stiking out, and you can even use it to take out the pack once its done.
Now you start with the first battery, you put it in the bottom and let it lay there, 2 one the same, but the most flat way, then you apply loctite to the touching surfaces of the batteries, and so on and so on.
I have to make another pack, I'll take pics of the process wile I do it and you'll se is very easy, then I'll post a mini guide.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 12th, 2014, 1:21 pm

Maximum run time is programmed so extra capacity does not increase, but good for durability, less deep discharge.

Lots of bubble-wrap things have thin, stiff plastic usable. Thin sheets of plexiglass (acryllic -- used in picture frames) and polycarbonate available online in small sizes. Also thin aluminum sheet online and in Ace Hardware stores; cuts with scissors. Also take-out food containers. Backs of DVD and computer game albums.

I used 5 minute clear epoxy (30 minute cure) on lithium cells when crazy glue (cyanoacrylate) did not stick. Important cells are packed flat sided to go in and out; glue makes rigid. No clamping needed.
[edit[ I think the slick wrapping on lithium cells is part of the fire hazard regulations, U.N. standards for shipping, with some special material not needed on unregulated, safer NiMh cells. Their wrapping takes fancier printing. Also those cells are popped in and out of gadgets individually, compared to hiding larger cells within packs.


[added] Soldering: a 100W soldering gun instead of iron, around $20, solders cells quickly without damage. Circuit board size irons can take too long or not work at all, with heavy heat sinking of cell cases. Can be damaged over-heating. Couple seconds only. (Unlike lithium, there is no fire hazard with NiMh).
Last edited by glnc222 on August 19th, 2014, 9:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 12th, 2014, 2:10 pm

I was being a smartass with that coment about the plexiglass :P sorry bad joke, anyway back to topic, i used a solder station regulated for a good soldering. These particular cells sticks great with loctite instant glue, maybe becouse of the wrapping, and they are inseparable, so there's a tip. I'll put a guide whit pictures once i start the other pack.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 12th, 2014, 3:39 pm

more data
Recent advances in NiMh documented in Wikipedia article on eneloop generations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eneloop. Tables of characteristics.
Chinese imitations differ only in minor details, quality control etc. Why pay more?

It might be easier to find places for extra AA's inside BotVac than extra 18650's, but with lots of weird wiring.


discharge before first charge
As these cells are delivered fully charged Neato will over-charge when first installed, in the way it handles battery disconnects, demanding a charge cycle before cleaning. Not critical, but perfectionists may want to discharge the packs some when first installed by running the fan over USB 30 minutes before putting on the charger. Press the power button after installing to start the Neato system. Use command sequence:
TESTMODE ON
SETMOTOR VACUUMON
...
SETMOTOR VACUUMOFF
TESTMODE OFF (important -- not automatic)
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 13th, 2014, 8:36 am

Just a quicky out of topic since it's getting many views, does someone know how to connect neato on windows? I want to se if I can move the brush with the computer
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 13th, 2014, 10:46 am

Pack assembly
Attachments
IMG_1898.JPG
ready to solder
IMG_1896.JPG
you are done assembling
IMG_1891.JPG
glue the side of the batteries you didn't have the chance to before
IMG_1890.JPG
And final cell inner side glue
IMG_1888.JPG
anotherone in the middle that forgor to take the picture then this gle inner side
IMG_1886.JPG
Again inner side
IMG_1886.JPG (66.16 KiB) Viewed 17437 times
IMG_1885.JPG
Next cell glue inner side
IMG_1884.JPG
Next cell in the middle and after positioning glue both sides
IMG_1882.JPG
Now drop the cells as separated from each other as you can
IMG_1880.JPG
The nex 2 are the trickiest since you have to apply glue on top before the cells
IMG_1878.JPG
Now glue them together
IMG_1877.JPG
Let the first 2 batteries lie as they acomodate
IMG_1876.JPG
Just in case you drop some glue you can use some plastic liner
IMG_1875.JPG
View of the acrylic
IMG_1874.JPG
Take the weels out
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 13th, 2014, 12:44 pm

how to connect neato on windows? I want to se if I can move the brush with the computer

Install the firmware updating tool on the Neato Robotics company website -- actually a driver for the USB connection.
Install Microsoft hyperterminal or equivalent telnet, terminal emulator, such as Putty (hyperterminal may not run on newer Windows, hard to find -- but does work in Windows 7). The Neato appears as a com port device when plugged in. As a usb device, there is no baud rate setting etc. for old teletypes and such (done in the hardware). See text command manual top of main forum page. Contact privately for any more needed.
Caution some old AMD cpu pc's and laptops with Nvidia, ATI system boards have a fault in the system board drivers preventing the Neato driver working properly; Intel systems all work. AFfects only Neato's peculiar USB method echoing each character as typed.

-----------------

When gluing cells together, I have used a pair of sticks clamped at right angles as a jig to position cells together straight and even. Looks like some tricky positioning for the space in this case. I might reproduce the cavity.
I wonder about the slanted cavity bottom used for the offset halves of the 18650's stack -- might be exploited more in packing the AA's.
Last edited by glnc222 on August 16th, 2014, 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby gustavo » August 13th, 2014, 12:54 pm

yes, I was going to cut the bottoms to fit all the cells staked instead of 2 on the side, but too much work and this way is pretty good. About positioning the cells, really is 5 mins each sides, the second pair of packs maybe was less, I'll make a video of the runtime with the iphone attached later, maybe tomorrow and post it, but first I'll post the soldering guide, not than anyone that means to make it needs it, but still might be helpful.

Thanks for the connection info, I'll try to move the brush with the computer, if it doesn't i'll exchange the part from one to the other to check that it really is the motor.
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Re: Neato XV hm packs $40 nimh frst r 73:43 5600mah updt 103

Postby glnc222 » August 13th, 2014, 1:40 pm

The in-place assembly method may accommodate differences in the newer all plastic Neato's. Also that cells might also fit all vertically? Users might play around with different fits before assembling according to taste.
I have first glued cells into pairs to keep the ends oriented for parallel wiring, then packed the pairs into the stacks.

If you need a new brush motor try member vic7767 (vic7767.com, Robot-Doc.com) for any available parts besides ebay (email for items not listed). Some very skilled people have repaired these cheap little motors, but takes tools etc. They can get clogged up and what not. Not built for repairs. Glue is applied to the shaft inside to balance it like car tires when manufactured.

[edit] Charging Data Collection

Anyone experimenting with such alternative batteries can find a handy data collection method using only the USB interface with automatic repeat functions shown in another thread: http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?p=126772#p126772
using RealTerm open source terminal emulator features. http://realterm.sourceforge.net/
The charging process can be monitored to compare with regular batteries.
External data logging instruments can also be used but are expensive or require building supplemental circuitry, and cannot access all the internal measurements available over USB. Some of that is shown in the Lithium battery thread.
Last edited by glnc222 on October 8th, 2014, 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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